Wildlife crime highlighted

Fife Police Wildlife Crimes Officer Ian Laing
Fife Police Wildlife Crimes Officer Ian Laing

THE links between animal crime and organised criminality has been highlighted after 300 wildlife incidents were recorded in Fife last year.

Councillors recently discussed a report on the impact of this sort of criminality and its links to serious and organised crime at a meeting of the Police transition committee.

Chair of committee Councillor Gavin Yates said it was “very important” that councillors were made aware of the links between wildlife crime and other serious criminal activity.

This involves, the councillor said, dog fighting and badger baiting.

“There’s also a strong link between young people being cruel to animals and then moving onto serious offending as adults,” Cllr Yates added.

“Partnership working with our schools, local communities and the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust are all helping to tackle this type of crime by maintaining a network of information and intelligence gathering that helps disrupt criminal activity and ultimately, reduces crime.

“Fife’s award-winning wildlife crime liaison officer Ian Laing does an excellent job in ensuring wildlife incidents are followed up, organising school liaison sessions and rural crime seminars and, more recently, taking part in Fife Division’s community engagement meetings.

“The Police Transition Committee is satisfied with performance in this area. It’s also very good to see the expertise Fife has in this area of crime being shared nationally and internationally, for the benefit of others.”

Fife appointed its first ever wildlife crime liaison officer in 2010.

Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan, Fife divisional commander of police Scotland said: “I recognise the importance of wildlife crime and the effects it can have on all of our communities, not just the large rural areas we enjoy across the kingdom, but also in more urban parts of the division.

“Do not be mistaken – wildlife crime is organised crime, carried out by serious organised criminals operating throughout Fife. With the help of the local people we shall continue to target and disrupt these criminal groups on every occasion.”

Anyone with information or concerns should contact Police Scotland on 101, the non-emergency phone number, or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.